updated 07:25 am EDT, Wed September 9, 2009
Palm intros Pixi for Sprint
Palm this morning backed rumors by launching the Pixi, its second webOS phone and its direct replacement for the Centro. The handset (once known as the Eos) is aimed at the budget segment and has a smaller 2.6-inch multi-touch screen as well as a fixed QWERTY keyboard, a 2-megapixel camera, and no Wi-Fi. It still keeps 3G, GPS and 8GB of storage; in a new feature for any Palm phone, the Pixi adds LinkedIn and Yahoo contacts and messages as well as Yahoo IM to the Synergy platform that unifies the platform.
The Pixi also marks the start of a new customizable element, known as the Artist Series, that lets buyers get the phone with specially designed replaceable back shells. iTunes sync is still in place, though Palm now carefully mentions the versions it expects will support the software following attempts by Apple to break compatibility.
Despite rumors of an AT&T launch, Palm says the Pixi is currently a Sprint exclusive and will launch sometime before the holidays. It hasn't disclosed pricing but is unofficially expected to put the phone at just $99 and thus have it compete directly against the 8GB iPhone 3G as well as many feature phones.
The news also comes with an official price cut on the Pre to $149 and indirectly supports estimates that sales have cooled in three months as the iPhone 3GS, as well as Sprint's own BlackBerry Tour, have affected the Pre at its original $199 price point.